ONGGI Ferments & Foods

Amy Ng, Erin Zobitz, and Marcus Im are leasing a space in The Black Box container building on Washington Ave where they plan to open ONGGI Ferments & Foods (website, instagram) this spring.

Their goal is to make the cultures of fermentation more accessible and approachable. ONGGI will be a market for fermented food, a retail shop for fermentation equipment and a resource through classes and workshops to learn the skills to produce your own fermented foods at home.

Ng, Zobitz and Im describe themselves as having been “obsessed over ferments for years” and are excited to share their passion for the topic and to become part of the broader Portland food community. During 2020 they operated an online initiative called 100 Days of Ferments which featured their “own recipes daily, alongside contributing recipes from people all over the fermentation space”. Additionally, Im has apprenticed with James Beard award-winning author Sarah Owens and has worked for both Tonx Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee.

The team is currently working with architect Jacqueline Zhao to design their space. They will have more to share about their vision for the business in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime follow ONGGI on instagram and visit their website to sign-up for their mailing list.

Beer & Coffee

Mainer has published an article about some of the local beer and coffee collaborations.

Most craft beer drinkers can — and, too often, will — talk ad nauseam about hop varieties and yeast strains. It’s not that they’re wrong about the subtle differences in flavor, it’s just that it’s all been said. So what’s left for a beer geek to nerd out about? Well, how about the various origins, roasts and brewing processes of coffee in beer?

For the Culture

An essay by Carmen Harris, co-owner of Magnus on Water in Biddeford, has been published in the inaugural issue of For the Culture.

The essay is titled I Have No Idea How I Got Here. In it Harris reflects on identity, opportunity and her path to founding a cocktail and restaurant in Biddeford Maine. Here’s a brief excerpt,

Out of the primordial dust of this pandemic, my prayer is that more Black women will be given the chance, access points, space, and self-permission to say yes to the unknown. The spiritual knowing within will guide us. Trust it. Know it. Cultivate it. It is she who longs to be discovered and create within you. She whispers to you, until you know you can do this, and you can do it better than anyone else. Even if, like me, you have never worked one day in a restaurant before the moment you opened your very own. She wraps you in the confidence to say ‘yes’ to the unknown with the knowing you cannot fail. She is with you, always.

For the Culture is a “biannual printed food magazine that celebrates Black women and femmes in food and wine. The stories in For the Culture are about Black women throughout the diaspora, written by Black women and photographed and illustrated by Black women. It is the first magazine of its kind.”

Anthony’s Receives Covid Support Funds

WCYY reports that Anthony’s Italian Kitchen has received support from the Barstool Fund, a $35 Million fund to help restaurants during the pandemic.

The Barstool Fund will cover a number of expenses for Anthony’s until they can open and operate as they did prior to the pandemic. One of the key conditions for receiving assistance from The Barstool Fund was that restaurants had to be keeping a full payroll throughout the pandemic.

Wicked Fresco Food Truck

A new food truck called Wicked Fresco (instagram) is under development with plans to launch this summer operating in Portland and the surrounding area.

Co-owners Camila Sohm and Eric Mendoza plan to tap into their Colombian and Salvadoran food cultures and Maine seasonal ingredients to serve a menu of sweet and savory salads as well as sides and hand-crafted sodas.

Sohm has worked in the food industry since moving to Maine 6 years ago. For both Mendoza and Sohm, they draw inspiration from seeing how the Portlanders supports restaurants from different cultures, and it’s made them want to launch the Wicked Fresco to be part of that community.

Follow Wicked Fresco on instagram to stay in the loop on their development.

Thoroughfare Opening Wednesday

After an especially busy soft opening over the weekend, Thoroughfare (instagram) is launching at their new location on Main Street in Yarmouth this Wednesday. Check the 2nd and 3rd images in this post on instagram for a look at the menu. The new Thoroughfare will be open for breakfast starting at 7 am, and served the rest of their menu 11 am – 7 pm.

Thoroughfare is a takeout service launched by chef Christian Hayes from The Garrison and Dandelion Catering. Hayes leased the former Andy’s Handy storefront in downtown Yarmouth back in November. The move of Thoroughfare to the space is the first step in his use of the location. Later this year Hayes plans to open Dandy’s Handy’s (instagram), a “corner store market in the main building, providing provisions, grocery, and more.”

This Week’s Events: Guest Chefs, Helm, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day

TuesdayMr Tuna is the featured restaurant in the Terlingua guest chef series.

ThursdayHelm is opening for takeout.

FridayBao Bao is offering a regional dumpling menu in celebration of Chinese New Year, and Little Brother Chinese Food (instagram) will start taking orders for their new frozen dumpling business for pick-up starting on the 19th at Fork Food Lab.

SaturdayJudy Gibson is the featured restaurant in the Ramona’s guest chef series.

Sunday – It’s Valentine’s Day—see our list of V-Day specials. The Pink Waffle will be holding a pop-up at Figgy’s.

Helm Opening on Thursday

Helm (websiteinstagramfacebook) is opening on Thursday. The new restaurant is located on Thames Street on the ground floor of the WEX Building across from the Ocean Gateway Terminal. They will be open this week Thursday through Sunday, 4:30 – 8:30, and plans to add Wednesday hours starting next week.

Helm is initially open for takeout with a weekly 3-course prix fixe menu (see photo below) as well as an extended wine and beer list. This week’s dinner menu includes a Chicory Salad with horseradish dressing and fried onions, Glazed Short Ribs with swiss chard, braised beans and yeast rolls, and a slice of Parsnip Cake with cream cheese frosting and walnuts. Helm also has a Valentine’s Day version of their menu with the option to add oysters and caviar to your order. You can place you order online and can schedule an order for pick-up later in the week.

Billy Hager is Helm’s chef de cuisine. He moved to Maine from California where he was the chef and a partner at Homestead in Oakland. Sous chef Dana Woodward also moved to Portland from the Bay Area where she was the chef de cuisine at Dobb’s Ferry.

Lizzie Legere is the owner of Helm and James Rose is the general manager. Legere has been part of the team at both Drifters Wife and  More & Co. Rose previously worked at Neptune Oyster in Boston.


Twelve at Portland Foreside

The Prentice Hospitality Group—owners of Evo Kitchen + Bar, Evo X, and the Chebeague Island Inn—has begun work on a new restaurant concept expected to launch in January 2022.

Twelve (instagram) will be located at 58 Fore, in the historic Pattern Storehouse building. The building itself was disassembled and is slated to be rebuilt brick by brick at 58 Fore later this summer. The storehouse is building #12 and hence the name of the restaurant.

The kitchen will be led by chefs Matt Ginn and Colin Wyatt. Ginn is the executive chef of the Prentice Hospitality Group, and Wyatt is the former executive sous chef at Eleven Madison Park. They initially worked together back in 2007 at Five Fifty-Five when Ginn was just starting his career and Wyatt was the chef de cuisine.

The menu concept is leaning towards an ingredient driven farm to table approach that pays homage to the food of Maine. Stay tuned for more details on precisely what form that will take as the project continues to move forward.

Evo Kitchen + Bar will now be remaining on Fore Street rather than moving to new digs at 58 Fore as originally planned.

Restaurant Real Estate: February 2021

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Portland Food Map restaurant real estate listings sponsored by The Boulos Company. This monthly column gathers in one convenient place the spaces available in Portland that could be potential sites for restaurants and food producers/retailers to locate their next business.

Even in these tough times for the hospitality industry some people are pursuing their dreams and opening new food businesses. Finding the right spot is one of the crucial early challenges in launching a new business and hopefully this new resource will make that step just a little bit easier.

West End

28 Brackett St – the 900 sq ft former Cider House space is for lease for $1,450/month.

101 York St – a 15,000 sq ft sub-dividable space in the new building on the corner of York and High Street is available for $15-20/sq ft (NNN). The space already has a hood vent and grease traps installed.

Arts District

11 Brown St – the space where BRGR Bar is located on Brown Street is for lease. The 4,321 turnkey restaurant space is available for $19/sq ft (NNN). All furniture, fixtures & equipment included, as are 2 parking spots and 2,000 sq ft of storage space.

555 Congress St – the former Five Fifty-Five is available to lease. The 1,089 – 3,647 sq ft space is listed at $22/sq ft (NNN).

593 Congress St – The former Vinland is available to lease. The 1,720 sq ft space is listed at $19.41/sq ft (MG).

605 Congress St – Two spaces in the State Theater Building is available. They are 543 sq ft and 2,685 sq ft and are listed at $25-35/sq ft (MG).

77 Free Street – the furniture, fixtures and equipment for Binga’s Stadium on Free Street are for sale for $85,000. The 17,000 sq ft of space is for lease at $4/sq ft (NNN).

129 Spring St – Maine Juice Company has relocated and their former space on Spring Street is free. This was the original home of Miyake and for a time was home to the Miyake izakaya.


15 Chestnut St – the 14,000 sq ft building that was the former home of Grace is for sale for $3,730,000.

84 Cove St – The former Milk & Honey in Bayside is available for $13/sq ft (NNN).

360 Cumberland Ave – a 1,900 sq ft back building hidden behind 360 Cumberland Ave is available for $20-25/sq ft (NNN).

23 Marginal Way – a 1,300 sq ft space in Century Plaza is available for $28/sq ft (NNN).

34 Portland St – the 4,256 sq ft building that was formerly was occupied by Candy’s is for sale for $695,000.

225 Oxford St – 600-2000 sq ft of build to suit space in a new building for $25/sq ft (NNN).

Old Port

1 Commercial St – the original location of Benkay at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 2,494 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

5 Commercial St – the former Rosemont Market at the corner of Commercial and India Streets is available. The 1,700 sq ft is for lease at $35/sq ft (NNN).

9 Commercial St – the former Commercial Street location of Arabica is available. 3,018/sq ft for $35/sq ft (NNN).

266 Commercial St – 6,689 sq ft of new construction retail space will be available for $20-22/sq ft (NNN).

383 Commercial St – 4 street retail spaces will be available (1,631 – 1,971 sq ft) at $28/sq ft (NNN) in a new building under construction at the corner of Maple and Commercial Streets.

98 Cross St – two retail spaces (991 and 1891 sq ft) are available for $20/sq ft (MG).

18 Exchange St – 1,800 sq ft of retail space for lease at $6,950/month (MG).

90 Exchange St – Eaux is moving to a new location and that’s freeing up their former location on Exchange St. 1,500 sq ft at $40/sq ft (MG).

225 Federal St – the former Old Port Po’ Boys & Pickles is available. 1,000 sq ft at $30/sq ft (MG).

345 Fore St – Vena’s is moving and that’s freeing up their current location. 2,310 sq ft for a $3,750/month.

363 Fore St – this 1,250 sq ft restaurant space at the corner of Fore and Market Streets is for lease at $6,500/month (MG).

422 Fore St – the former Pearl space is available, 2,400 sq ft at $38/sq ft (MG).

425 Fore St – The former Five Guys is available. $2,900/sq ft and $40/sq ft (MG).

446 Fore St – 1,600 – 3,400 sq ft in the former Pearl space with entrances on Wharf and Fore Streets is available for $30-40/sq ft (MG).

505 Fore St – 2,996 sq ft of existing restaurant space is available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

40 Free St – A new building is under construction on Free Street by JB Brown. The first floor will have 4/5 storefronts ranging in size from 1,358 to 3,067 sq ft. The construction is expected to be completed in early 2021. The rate is $30/sq ft (NNN).

55 Market St – this 3,700 sq ft space on Market Street was formerly occupied by the Big Easy. It’s available for $24/sq ft (NNN).

131 Middle St – this 3,512 sq ft retail spaace is for lease at $14.50/sq ft (NNN).

28 Monument Square – the former Maine Squeeze juice bar in the Public Market House is for lease. Contact for more information. Also, the second floor space formerly occupied by Sichuan Kitchen is available, call (207) 939-0980 for information.

66 Pearl St – the 5,796 space formerly occupied by Bull Moose is available for $15.75/sq ft (MG).

2 Portland Square – the former Walter’s is back on the market. 3,219 sq ft for $28/sq ft (MG).

3 Portland Square – This new building will include 2,500 – 20,000 square feet of retail space for$28.50/sq ft.

3 Spring St – the 2,554 – 3,500 sq ft former Lio space is available at $23/sq ft (NNN).

5 Spring St – the first floor space located below the former home of Lio at the corner of Cross and Spring Streets. 3,069 sq ft at $20-23/sq ft (NNN).

23 Temple St – this 947 sq ft is located in the same building as the Nickelodeon. It’s for lease at $25/sq ft (MG).

India/Washington Ave

100 Fore St – 2 retail spaces are available in a new building planned for Fore Street. 1,141 and 1,914 sq ft respectively, $27 – 30/sq ft (NNN).

The Black Box – 300 sq ft, $1,450 per month (3 month minimum) which includes all utilities, high speed WiFi, and shared access to a common unit that includes two bathrooms (1 ADA) as well as shared use of the adjacent patio space that can accommodate outdoor seating.

Forest Ave

688 Forest Ave – the former Valley Chinese building in Woodfords Corner is for sale for $475,000.

1190 Forest Ave – located right in the center of Morrill’s Corner. 3,000 – 5,082 sq ft at $12 – 20/sq ft (NNN).


559 Brighton Ave – 1,920 sq ft of the original Rosemont Market building is for lease for $12/sq ft (NNN).

1041 Brighton Ave – 1,200 -7,000 sq ft of space available in the strip mall that’s the longtime location of Panda Garden. The space is available for $10-13/sq ft (NNN).

441 Congress St – The 2,400 sq ft former home of Guitar Grave across the street from 1 Monument Square is available for $20/sq ft.

1283 Congress St – part of this build was in the process of becoming a restaurant. A hood was installed a couple years. Those plans have apparently been shelved and the space is now for lease. For more information call Harbor City Realty (207) 775-1991.

139 Riverside St – a 5,020 sq ft restaurant space available for $15/sq ft (MG).

249 Saint John St – a 3,41 sq ft building that has been occupied by one restaurant or another for years is for sale for $325,000.

23 Lincoln St, Biddeford – a 12,600 sq ft space divided equally on two floors, each floor has a kitchen with hoods is available for $11/sq ft (NNN). Contact Tony Delois for more information at

117 Route 1, Freeport – the former Conundrum building in Freeport is for sale for $1.2M.

111 Main St, Westbrook – the former Ruby Tuesday’s in Westbrook Crossing shopping plaza off of Brighton is for lease. Contact

Other Spaces – some vacated restaurant spaces haven’t yet been formerly listed for by the owner (e.g. Piccolo). Check the closing announcements for the latest information.


MG – Modified Gross which indicates that the operating expenses (taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.) for the property are included in the lease rate. The tenant would pay its own utilities, which sometimes includes heat.

NNN – Triple Net which indicates that operating expenses are not included in the lease rate, and the tenant will pay them separately. They are often referred to as CAM (Common Area Maintenance) charges and taxes, which are expressed as $/sf. The tenant is also responsible for utilities.

Gross – Gross indicates all expenses including utilities are included in the lease rate. The tenant would be responsible for phone and internet access, as well as interior janitorial.